THE SEEDS OF RENEWAL, an article by Emmy Duddles


by Emmy Duddles

It was February 2021, right in the middle of COVID-19. JD, an Alliance international worker on special assignment with East-West Ministries, was on a trip to West Africa to train local African pastors from multiple denominations, when he was suddenly asked to fill in for the main speaker of a revival festival on Friday and Saturday night. The evangelist was stuck in Seattle, trying to get on a flight overseas but couldn’t because of the pandemic.

JD agreed to fill in, and they began preparations for him to take over the main sermon. The event had been covered in prayer by the 50 churches who were involved. A 50-person team stayed up until 3:00 a.m. the night before, praying for people to come to know the Lord, for healing, and for revival to break out. 

While in the car on the way to the festival, the organizers, wanting to honor their guest, told JD, “When you get there, don’t get out of the car yourself. Let them open the door for you.” When the car door opened, he was right at the stage in the middle of a stadium with 500 chairs overflowing with 3,000 cheering people. “It was like I was part of a movie,” JD says. 

His sermon was on the four barriers to people from the majority religion coming to Christ because many of those in the audience were dedicated followers of that faith. When he was finished with his sermon, he gave an altar call, and over 250 people came to the front to give their lives to Christ. 

He began praying over them, and soon a line was forming of people bringing their sick friends and family to the stage. JD prayed, Lord, what do I do? A local Pentecostal pastor handed him the mic and said, “Pray for this guy.” A man with a limp came forward on crutches, and JD prayed over him: “God, You’re on display. It’s not me. So I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that You would heal this man.” And the man began to walk without his crutches! 

JD thought, Wow, I believe in healing, and I’ve seen healing a few times, but this is amazing—this is the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, what should I do now? 

The Lord answered, Grab his crutches, and hold them over your head. 

JD grabbed the crutches, held them over his head, and the whole crowd cheered. The man was walking back and forth across the stage. He still had a bit of a limp, but he was able to walk without any assistance. 

Another man approached next with two people holding him up on either side. JD prayed, and again the man was healed. Over and over again, the sick would come forward for prayer and be healed immediately. Some had demonic manifestations, falling flat and going into a catatonic seizure-like state, but JD and the rest of the pastors continued to pray and see God move among the people coming forward. 

God is moving through all of His people to reach a dark and desperate land with His mercy and love.

On Saturday night, there were 5,000 people, and JD again gave an altar call at the end of the sermon. Once again, over 250 people came forward to embrace Jesus as their Lord and Savior with many people being healed and delivered. 

At the end of the service, there were too many people left who needed healing, so JD stretched his hands out over the crowd and prayed a final prayer for all who were there. When the pastors were checking in that Sunday with the more than 500 who asked for follow-up, dozens of people from dozens of churches gave testimony of how they were healed in the audience without ever receiving personal prayer. 

The following week, JD was able to conduct the pastoral training workshop that was the original reason for his trip. Forty-three pastors attended, and on the third day, they prayed that they could plant a church. During their lunch break, they led 86 people to Christ. About 12 of those people were from two households who lived right next door to each other. These two households started a house church, which is still functioning to this day. 

Only a few weeks later, there were 12 new churches in the area. Then there were 20, 30, 40. After a full year, there were 54 house churches all from different denominational backgrounds, full of people hungry for the gospel. “This is about building the Kingdom,” JD says. 

As of this writing, there are now 64 churches, spreading north toward a whole new country in West Africa. In January 2024, they are planning to do another round of training in discipleship and evangelism with more West African church leaders. Those being trained are fired up to use what they’ve learned in their towns and villages to reach more people with the life-transforming power of Christ. Join us in prayer as these believers share Jesus’ love with the lost, pray over the sick for healing, and plant even more churches. God is moving through all of His people to reach a dark and desperate land with His mercy and love.